Never before has Canadian society had so many of its members live to old age. It is estimated that by 2031, one in five Canadians will be seniors. From coast to coast The Salvation Army continues to provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for Canada’s growing population.
In Ottawa, The Salvation Army Woodroffe Community Church has been meeting the needs of older persons in its community for more than forty years. Sharon Dean, administrator for seniors’ ministries, describes the vital role of Woodroffe Community Church as it relates to the elderly.
This group of more than 90 seniors meets bi-weekly for fun, food, and fellowship. Our oldest member is 97. We have a wide-range of activities that we participate in. Guests from 211 (easy access telephone line to community, social, health and related government services), the fire department, police department and local authors are invited to provide timely, useful information. We go on boat cruises, visit government house, enjoy theatre productions and attend events at Ottawa’s performing arts centre. A summer highlight is breakfast followed by minigolf. We sponsor two children through the Army’s sponsorship program. To support his program, each year we hold a loonie/toonie sale where one persons junk becomes another’s treasure. Also, within the Sunshine Club we have a hand-bell choir of 16 that brings joy to seniors at nursing homes.
Recently our church joined with Faith Links in our community. Faith Links brings together neighbourhood churches who reach out to those shut in at home. We target seniors who need a friend, a listening ear, transportation to and from doctors’ appointments and, if needed, pick up groceries.
Tea and Tunes
Every three months we take ‘Tea & Tunes’ to local seniors’ apartment complexes. We come with lots of goodies and music. The residents love to chat over a cup of tea and something sweet! We have a sing-a-long of contemporary and gospel music. We also have a time of prayer for the needs of these seniors. Many are unable to attend church services and appreciate the spiritual component we offer. Tea & Tunes certainly brightens their day.
We recently occupied the Community Booth in a local shopping plaza along with ROTIS (Reaching out to Isolated Seniors) & Help the Aged. We met numerous seniors and invited them to our seniors club. An invitation was extended to everyone to make their way to the church for an afternoon of entertainment through the video production of the musical Oklahoma. This was a good way to meet folks in the neighbourhood and bring them into the church in a non threatening way.
The Value of Older Persons
Seniors are a real blessing to watch as they support each other through the golden years. They are here because they need each other – those who help, and those who are helped.
Their wisdom, principles, life experience and caring attitude makes them valuable to our community and church. And, they are so grateful for any support they receive.
In all of our seniors’ ministries we love them in a very practical way. We bring them comfort, show them we care and are interested in their lives. And most importantly – we spend time with them; they know we are there for them.